20. September 2014

Contested Nature - Conflicts on Large-Scale Land and Resource Deals

In times of climate change, peak oil, and a combined energy, food and financial crisis, land as well as certain resources have become highly contested commodities. Resulting from a multiple crisis of capitalism, the current global land rush is facilitated by governments and (foreign) investors alike - often framed as a sustainable development strategy. Although far from being a new phenomenon, the dimensions of contemporary commercial land and resource acquisitions indicate a shift. Particularly, scale, pace and externalities such as displacement, marginalization and environmental damages are a hot topic of debate. However, the impact on human-nature relations and (potential) conflicts related to large-scale land acquisitions remain largely unattended. Changing land tenure poses a severe threat to livelihoods, which leads to different forms of resistance. Likewise, some deals are concluded in (post)conflict countries, which raises questions concerning the impact of land deals on peacebuilding dynamics.


In order to encourage interdisciplinary exchange, we understand “conflicts” in a rather broad sense, including protests, everyday resistance and social movement actions, but also armed conflicts and civil wars. At the same time we do not limit large-scale land acquisitions to agricultural projects. We also take into account conflicts and struggles around tourism projects, mineral extraction, as well as so called “green grabs” like carbon offsetting schemes or acquisitions with conservation purposes.


This workshop aims to provide an open and interdisciplinary space for discussing research projects in progress, as well as methodological and empirical questions. The workshop also serves as the kick-off meeting for the working group “Nature, Resources and Conflict”. The working group aims to establish a network for junior and senior scholars working on issues of conflicts and struggles around land, resources and nature. For more information: